Conmen target villagers

PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

FRAUDSTERS are being brought in from Wales to try and con villagers out of their cash.

FRAUDSTERS are being brought in from Wales to try and con villagers out of their cash.

Residents of Mark became concerned after two apparently deaf men began knocking on doors trying to sell pictures.

In a bid to communicate they used cards to introduce themselves and asked for money for their 'education and special needs'.

They also offered black and white drawings for cash.

Police soon caught up with the men after suspicious villagers and Neighbourhood Watch coordinators helped direct them to the culprits.

It materialised the conmen were Polish and had travelled from Wales.

It is thought they may have been part of a ring of fraudsters who were dropped off in the area specifically to try to trick money out of vulnerable residents, as they had no means of transport to return to Wales.

Mark PC Tom Pether said: "Thanks to a quick response from people in the community we managed to arrest the men responsible.

"People do need to be aware of any suspicious behaviour and should be aware of any type of cold callers."

Residents in Somerset and North Somerset are being advised to keep their wits about them and to be aware of rogue traders and distraction burglars.

With the digital switchover in progress police are also warning of potential false conmen offering advice on the transition.

Detective chief inspector Phil Polet said: "Doorstep criminals prey on elderly and vulnerable people.

"They call unexpectedly and talk their way in, persuading their victims to have unnecessary work done on their homes or simply steal cash and valuables."

The launch of North Somerset's Operation Jackal will also see officers working together with the community, financial sector and Trading Standards to combat such crimes.

For more advice on dealing with cold callers contact your neighbourhood policing team on 0845 456 7000 or visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

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